I really love these kinds of ambient / environmental recordings, and would love to surround myself with them much more often.
So, I created soundscapes, an LJ community where people can submit their own recordings (ideally for inclusion in a permanent sound archive), link to legally distributable soundfiles or websites, and discuss how best to make such recordings.
There are numerous sites on the internet that collect and share these kinds of sounds ...but what if they aren't archived and eventually disappear like most websites? Tears in rain?! I'd hope not, because there is real value to having a record of these soundscapes for historians, musicians, filmmakers, students, and those who appreciate such recordings.
As a result, I have contacted the Internet Archive to see if they would be willing to dedicate some space to archiving these kinds of recordings. They already allow musicians free space for their compositions, so I'm hoping that they'll find a public collection of ambient recordings interesting to them, with the content either released under the public domain or Creative Commons licenses, so that artists, musicians, filmmakers, students, and historians can use them for new creative projects. A valuble resource can be easily made -- all it takes is a willingness of people to record and share with each other the sounds they hear around them every day. Hopefully, soundscapes can help jumpstart such a project.
I'm opening soundscapes up to the public today, so feel free to check it out and join up, if you'd like!
Ambient sound recordings can be just as relevant, as culturally important, and as emotionally powerful as photography. It is my hope that by creating spaces online to appreciate these sounds, it will encourage people to sit back, relax, and listen to the world around them.